I’ve been thinking about this for a while and know full well that there’s absolutely nothing profound or meaningful about this story.
So, I wonder, is sharing this sort of a bragging or ego thing? I don’t think so, and what the hell….it was different and fun…..so here goes:
Andy Wyeth calls and asks me up to their house at the end of the day for drinks. The question du jour was, “So, who is Michael Jackson?”
Jackson had just released Thriller and was the hottest celeb on the planet but, not surprisingly, Andy had never heard of him.
Turns out that Jackson had sent – through a long chain of Connected Heavies – a query about Andy doing his portrait. Andy was very seldom even remotely open to this sort of thing, but the next evening I brought up a video (remember VHS?) of Jackson doing his signature Moonwalk move at an industry ceremony.
Andy was thus sufficiently intrigued to send word back along the Chain of Heavies that he would meet with Jackson to see how it might all play out.
The day Michael came was a hoot. He traveled with a large and very diverse entourage and it was all “top-secret,” but the ice broke very quickly and we all just walked around the Brandywine River Museum together and looked at three generations of Wyeth paintings.
The things I remember most about the day include the young woman at the museum who was obviously dragging her boyfriend around for a mandatory culture-fix, and looked over and realized that she was standing three feet away from Michael Jackson and instantly went into another state of consciousness, dissolving into tears when he looked over, smiled and said, in his little high voice, “Hi.”
I remember all the Heavies begging me to get their picture with Michael so they could share them with kids, grandchildren and their Walls of Fame collection.
I vividly remember Michael being very shy. And sweet. Most of all, I remember that of all things that day he was most attracted to the kids over at the farm. Nothing pervy, nothing disturbing…what I recall was thinking, this guy is just a little kid, he’s right out of Peter Pan.
The portrait by Andy never happened. But there’s this of me with Michael.
My Forrest Gump-like life.